Tag Archives: bill granger

Carrot Cake

I’ve wanted to try to make carrot cake for a really long time, because I love it’s cinnamon-ey, nutty yumminess. But as ridiculous as this sounds, I had a preconception that carrot cake would be really difficult to make because it had…um, carrot, in it. It turns out it wasn’t hard at all, but carrot to me still just seems like such a weird thing to put in a cake. To make the whole endeavour even better I worked out after I’d made it, that compared to a normal cake carrot cake is actually quite healthy (in the loosest sense of the word) because it doesn’t have any butter in it and it involves really quite a lot of carrots- way more than you’d expect.

Anyway, as with most of my cooking escapades, I turned to my library of Bill Granger cookbooks and I found this easy recipe for Carrot Cake in Bill’s Basics. You start by greasing and lining a 24cm springform cake tin.

To make the cake you’ll need these ingredients:

200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g grated carrot
250g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
250ml light-flavoured oil (I used sunflower, but vegetable or canola oil would also work)
100g sultanas or raisins
100g chopped walnuts
zest of 1 orange

To make the icing you’ll need these ingredients:

250g cream cheese
30g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 170c. You start the cake by sifting together your flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a big bowl. Grate your carrots and then mix the grated carrots through the flour mixture. Without a doubt the hardest and most annoying part of this recipe is grating the carrots, 200g was actually quite a few carrots and it took me ages, but I’m quite weak on the grating front, as well as very cautious after a bad run in with a parmesan grater a few weeks back.

In a different bowl whisk your eggs and sugar together. (Very) slowly whisk in your oil to this mixture, if you don’t do it slowly the mixture will split and all the oil will just sit on top of the sugar and eggs which is gross, so take your time.

Make a well in the carroty flour bowl and pour the wet mixture in, stir it until the mixture just comes together. Then fold through your sultanas, walnuts and orange zest.

Pour the mixture into your baking tin and bake at 170c for between 1 and 1 and a quarter hours. I haven’t put loads of pictures of the cooking process because as you can see the mixture looks a little unappealing, but I can assure you it completely transforms in the oven and looks delicious (and not at all like vom) when it comes out.

Once your cake is baked, which you can check with a skewer which should come out clean (or a knife, if like me you don’t own a skewer) let it cool in the tin for 5 mins. Then take it out of the tin to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool make your icing.

The icing is so easy, just beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and then add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Then slather your icing all over the top of your cake….

Until it looks shiny and lovely. Obviously add the amount of icing to your own taste. The quantities in this recipe make quite a bit of icing, which I like, but not everyone does. I’ve noticed that boys don’t really like that much icing.

Reward yourself for your (not so) strenuous baking efforts with a generous piece of cake to go with a cup of tea. Enjoy x


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5 Australian things I can’t live without…

Sometimes it can be tough living so far away from home and my family, but having lived in London for quite some years now I think I’ve become acclimatised to being away from Australia. There are however, some Australian bits and pieces that I just couldn’t live without and because of their fabulousness I felt the need to share.

Lucas Papaw Ointment

This little multi-purpose gem has been a long standing obsession of mine, mainly because it makes the BEST lip balm ever. It’s a natural remedy made in Queensland from 100% papaya and its uses are endless (seriously- this is what the packaging says: burns, chafing, cuts, cracked skin, splinters, wounds, rashes, insect bites and nappy rash). I really couldn’t overstate its brilliance here if I tried. I pretty much have a tube of papaw to hand at all times- handbag, bedside table, work desk, bathroom cabinet- and I wouldn’t go on holiday without it. It’s readily available in all chemists and supermarkets in Australia but you can also buy it through amazon and websites like http://www.pawpawshop.co.uk/ in the UK. Get yourself a tube asap- you know what they say, if its good enough for Miranda Kerr…

Bill Granger

Bill Granger’s cookbooks are my food bibles and go-to reference when I need a bit of inspiration in the kitchen. Bill is a self taught Sydney chef (originally from Melbourne- like all the best people are!) who has a series of casual restaurants in Australia. Excitingly, he has also recently opened a restaurant in London- Granger & Co which I am dying to try (blog post about that coming soon!).
Bill has published lots of recipe books over the years (I have a grand total of 4 of them- all fantastic) and his recipes are simple, tasty and always impressive looking, particularly if you’re cooking for friends. My favourite of the books I have is Bill’s Basics which has so many great staple recipes which I can’t help but come back to time and time again

Flat whites

Melbourne coffee is the best. There I’ve said it- its a fact. The cafe culture in Melbourne is world class, and I love going to cute cafes when I’m at home and reading a magazine over a flat white which is a small, strong and smooth white coffee.
Happily, the flat white phenomenon has recently spread to London and there are now a few places where you can get a great coffee here. My favourites are Lantana on Charlotte Place and Flat White on Berwick St- both of them are Australian so you can have a little taste of the cafe culture from down under right in the heart of London.

Junior Masterchef Australia

While trawling the dregs of the Sky channels a few months ago I stumbled across a little program called Junior Masterchef Australia. We all know about Masterchef UK, and even Junior Masterchef UK- but the Australian version is in a league of its own. The children to be perfectly blunt are a little bit freaky- they are REALLY into cooking. Weirdly into it for 11 year olds. These little kids make amazing looking food like vanilla infused scallops and duck larb and are even cooking with Tetsuya. These Australian chefling prodigies make for very compelling viewing- did I mention they’re only 11?!


Whenever I take a trip home to Australia I’m usually on the look out for some new swimmers (or swimming costume to non Australians). Australia has some brilliant swimwear brands- I think the best, but I am probably biased. I think Australian swimmers are generally better quality and the patterns and designs are a little bit more exciting. My favourite brands are Seafolly (I even have the pair in the picture- I’ll have to keep up the pilates if I want to look as good as that girl though!) and Tigerlily. I also got a great one-piece at Country Road last time I was home. Swimmers from these places are probably slightly more pricey than in the UK, but if you look after them properly (never put them in the washing machine people- only rinse under cold water!) they’ll last for ages.

I hope this has made you want to visit Australia, writing it has made me a little bit homesick! Enjoy x

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Bank Holiday Breakfast

It must be the bank holiday weekend vibes which inspired me to take a little bit more care than normal with this morning’s breakfast.  I had a taste for pancakes when I woke up so consulted my current food bible of choice- Bill Granger’s ‘Bills Basics’.

Bill Granger is an Australian chef (of course!) and his recipes are so simple but always so tasty and impressive looking. These pancakes are way more luxurious and fluffy than the standard pancakes I used to make, yet the recipe is surprisingly easy. Don’t be put off by the requirement for buttermilk either, as there is a great cheat tip where you can create your own buttermilk with normal milk and lemon juice.


2 tablespoons lemon juice + 300ml milk (or 300ml buttermilk)
200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
30g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for cooking


Stir together the lemon juice and milk and let it stand for 5 mins (or just use the buttermilk instead if you can find it/are organised enough to have it at home in preparation for pancake craving!).
Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Stir in the milk and lemon juice or buttermilk.
Cook the pancakes in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Use 2-3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes for 2 mins until bubbles appear on the surface and then flip over and cook for 1 min on the other side.

Top with good old lemon and sugar, or for something a bit different I tried mine with greek yoghurt and honey which was delicious. Enjoy!

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